Wien, 26. June 2012 Press release

Spindelegger: Zero tolerance for torture and inhumane treatment

Spindelegger on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture 2012

Vienna, 26 June 2012 – “Torture or inhumane treatment must under no circumstances be tolerated. Austria has thus increased its protective and monitoring mechanisms and granted the independent Ombudsman Board the power to examine all public institutions in Austria where people are held against their will to assure the observance of human rights. This further step towards strengthening human rights is exemplary in international comparison“, Austrian Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger said on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, commenting on the most recent developments in implementing the UN Convention against Torture in Austria. The law on implementing the Optional Protocol of the Convention OPCAT enters into force on 1 July 2012. And on June 19th, the Austrian Council of Ministers initiated the steps required for early ratification of the OPCAT.

“In many countries, torture is part of everyday life; in conflict situations it is often used as a weapon against a country’s own people, and torturers do not even draw a line at children. The example of Syria, where human rights violations have reached a shocking extent, illustrates the urgency of this problem. These atrocities must be condemned with the utmost strictness and brought before the International Criminal Court, something that Austria has long been demanding at the international level”, Spindelegger continued.

“Bringing up human rights issues regularly in political dialogue and meetings with third countries, as well as the support of individual victims of torture are effective means for making the countries concerned discharge their duties and to remind them of their duty to fulfil international human rights obligations. Austria lives up to its commitment for human rights, the rule of law and the fight against impunity at many levels and especially in its role of member of the UN Human Rights Council.”

“The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is an appeal to all of us to take responsibility and to stand up for the abolition of torture worldwide, to increase our efforts in this field and to advocate a policy of zero tolerance against torture and inhumane treatment”, the Vice Chancellor concluded.

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